Tag Archive for: return to work

Can Returning to Work Too Soon Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim?

It can take several weeks or longer to recover from an auto accident injury. Some of the more severe injuries require surgery and other types of medical treatment, and this could mean a lengthy rehabilitation period. During this time, injured individuals are often anxious to get back to work.

Being out of work because of a personal injury means no steady paycheck, which can cause a lot of financial strain on injury victims and their families. It also means being out of your regular routine; e.g. not being able to go to the workplace every day, not being able to socialize with coworkers, etc., Being at home every day not doing anything can get very boring after a while.

Under these circumstances, it is understandable that an injured individual would want to get back to their job as soon as possible. Their employer might also be encouraging them to come back, which adds to their motivation.

So, when is it a good time to go back to work after an accident injury?

There is no standard answer to that question that applies in all circumstances. Every case is different, and the severity of an injury can vary widely from one case to another. In addition, each body reacts differently to physical trauma.

The best advice is to follow your doctor’s recommendations and do not participate in any physical activity (including your job) without medical clearance to do so. You should also work closely with your attorney to understand all of the legal ramifications of your decisions.

What if you go back to work too soon after the injury? Can doing so damage your personal injury claim?

The short answer is, “yes”, it can hurt your legal claim. But not only that, an early return to work could also cause you to experience a significant physical setback as well.

What Could Go Wrong if You Go Back to Work Too Soon?

As we touched on in the previous section, going back to work without being cleared by your doctor could be used against you in your personal injury claim. The insurance company from which you are seeking compensation for your injury will most likely see an early return to work as evidence that your injuries are not really as bad as you say they are. This means they will want to pay you less for losses such as pain-and-suffering and emotional distress, claiming that you could not be suffering all that much if you are able to work again.

Keep in mind that insurance companies are always looking for ways that they can diminish the value of a legal claim and pay out less money for the negligent actions of their insureds. Insurance companies are in business to make money, so it only makes sense that they would do everything they can to protect their bottom line. Do not give them any additional ammunition that they could use against you.

The second and more important reason you should not return to work too soon after an injury is because it could jeopardize your physical health. You might feel like you are ready to go back, but if a doctor says that you are not, there is probably a good reason they are giving you this advice.

For example, maybe your job involves certain physical movements that you have not been doing while you have been out of work, such as lifting heavy materials or various types of repetitive work. If you go back too soon and working re-aggravates your injury, this could significantly worsen your condition and set your recovery back for an extended period of time. To add insult to injury, the insurance company might refuse to pay the medical expenses that you incur because of the injury being re-aggravated.

The Importance of Legal Representation After a Personal Injury

Issues like when to return to work come up frequently in a personal injury claim. And as we talked about earlier, insurance companies are always looking for ways to trip up a claimant, so they can pay out as little as possible for their injuries. This is why it is always best to work with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the claims process and help you avoid any potential pitfalls.

If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence and the injury occurred in Alabama, M. Adam Jones and Associates is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and case assessment with a member of our legal team.

Should I Be in a Hurry to Return to Work after an Injury?

After someone is injured in a workplace accident, employers and their insurers are usually eager for them to get back to work. The sooner an injured employee returns to work, the sooner they can stop paying workers’ compensation benefits. The employee may also be anxious to start working again so they can get a full paycheck and get back to a regular routine.

While it is understandable for a worker to want to get back on the job, it is important to do so with an abundance of caution. Coming back to work too soon is definitely not in the employee’s best interests. They need an adequate amount of time to recover from their injury, and if it is not fully healed, there is a chance that the injury will be aggravated, and their condition will become worse. In some extreme cases, they could even end up with a permanent injury that prevents them from going back to their job at all.

If something like this were to happen, it would not only be bad for your physical health, it could jeopardize your workers’ compensation benefits as well. When you go on workers’ comp, you have a duty to mitigate the effects of your injury. This is done by receiving necessary medical care, doing what your doctor tells you to do, and taking the time that is needed to get fully recovered or if applicable, reach maximum medical improvement.

Your boss might be putting subtle pressure on you to come back to work. You might be hearing comments like, “we really need you back” or “I sure hope the doctor gives you approval to come back to work soon.” Keep in mind, however, that you are the one who loses by going back to work before you are physically able to do so. If you get hurt again, you are the one who will pay the price, not them.

When Should I Return to Work after an Injury?

The simple answer is, you should only return to work after you have been medically cleared to do so and your doctor issues a “return to work” date. While you are out of work, you should be making regular visits to your doctor to receive updates on your progress.

During each visit, the doctor typically provides notations about your work status. At some point, the doctor might clear you to come back to work either “with restrictions” or “without restrictions.” If you are cleared to come back with restrictions, this means that you still have some physical limitations, and you might only be able to do certain jobs.

For example, you might not be ready yet to do tasks that require heavy lifting or standing on your feet for too long. If your work clearance has restrictions, be sure to follow them as directed by your doctor so you don’t re-aggravate your injury.

When you go in for your doctor visits, be sure to ask them about your disability and work status each time. It could happen that a doctor clears you to go back to work on paper, but they fail to tell you this verbally. In such cases, you might not realize that you have a “return to work” date, and if you do not come back to work on that date, you could be in trouble with your employer.

Could I Lose My Job if I Don’t Come Back to Work When My Employer Wants?

This is a bit of a tricky question. An employer is not allowed to fire an employee in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim, but in most cases, they are also not required to hold your job for you while you are out on workers’ comp leave. There are some exceptions to this, however, such as if you have an employment contract that guarantees your job, or if your injury qualifies you to take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In any case, an employer will usually take an employee back after they are medically cleared as long as they have a position available for them.

Suffered a Workplace Injury in Alabama? Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Workers’ comp claims can be complicated and confusing, and there are a lot of difficult questions such as when you should return to work after an injury. For this reason, it is always best to work with a skilled and knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney. For experienced legal help with workplace accidents and injuries in Alabama, contact M. Adam Jones and Associates or assistance. Call our office today at 334-581-9238 or message us online to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.